“Slow is smooth and smooth is fast.”
Sifu Matt believes that to just train external Kung Fu is only half of the training. The other half is meditation and Chi Gung practice. At the academy we don’t just train Kung Fu, we also train the mind with meditation and the internal state of the body with the practice of Chi Gung or energy/breath work. Sifu Matt teaches sitting meditation help to relieve stress and helps us to live in mindfulness everyday. We must learn to keep our mind balanced and calm. Not only is this important for Kung Fu practice, it is important for everyday life outside of the academy.
Chi Gung is the practice of gentle movement combined with breathing in order to exercise our internal energy, or “Chi”. It seeks to work the internal, whereas Kung Fu Training works the external. There are many different kinds of Chi Gung exercise, some are slower, more like Tai Chi Chuan, some are faster and use more power to strenghten the muscles and tendons. Contact the academy to learn more about learning these two practices.
The Martial Arts Trap
Anyone can get to that place where we feel like we know it all. I know all my forms. I got my certificates. I’m a certified bad-ass. This however is a trap leading to mediocrity in our kung fu or martial arts training. Even worse, this belief can lead to so-so performance in other areas of life. The way we do one thing is the way we do everything. Think about it.
Pursuit of Mastery is Ongoing
It’s important that current kung fu students are always coming in on a regular basis to train and continue learning. Critical that even “advanced” students come in to train and work with younger, less experienced students. This is a central part of martial arts schools everywhere. There are several reasons.
1. Investigate, Try, Apply, Repeat
Here’s part of the answer: Because, “advanced” students who have completed learning a set number of forms etc. have not really completed their martial arts study; they’ve only finished a segment of their training. The certificate which says you’ve learned a kung fu form means that you know all the moves and have a basic understanding of what they all mean. To fully investigate how they might be applied in a self defense situation, requires more training, more chi sau, more conversations and questions with your Sifu.
2. Martial Arts is a Way of Life
This is yet another beginning. This is where the next level of understanding of practice begins which informs not only the body but the mind and the spirit. This is where we begin to crack open the doors to understanding how kung fu is a way of living and not just a solution to being in a rough spot if someone threatens you with their fist. Ving Tsun kung fu is how we approach life every day. Focused. Relaxed yet Determined. Pure of intent. Like the Chinese coin; strong in the center, round on the outside. Doing all we can to make the world a better place.